The Process (Skinny Puppy album)

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The Process
A sepia photograph of a miniature apartment complex by Steven R. Gilmore
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 27, 1996
RecordedNovember 1993 – May 1995
Studio
Several
Genre
Length43:08
Label
Producer
Skinny Puppy chronology
Last Rights
(1992)
The Process
(1996)
The Greater Wrong of the Right
(2004)
Singles from Post Self
  1. "Candle"
    Released: 1996

The Process is the eighth studio album by Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy. Released by American Recordings on February 27, 1996, The Process was the band's final album before it reformed in 2000 and released The Greater Wrong of the Right in 2004.[1] Skinny Puppy's keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died near the end of The Process' recording,[2] and the album experienced difficult production and record-label intrusion.[3][4]

Background, recording and concept[edit]

Nivek Ogre, cEvin Key, and Dwayne Goettel signed a contract with American Recordings,[5] and moved to Malibu, California to record The Process.[2] "Jahya" was the first song recorded for the album, the only song recorded at the band's familiar Mushroom Studios.[6] Recording sessions were punctuated by fires, floods, and the Northridge earthquake. The album's producer changed several times, from Roli Mosimann to Martin Atkins to Dave Ogilvie.[7][8] According to cEvin Key, American Recordings pressured the band into adopting a commercial, industrial metal sound similar to Nine Inch Nails. The band's bickering and excessive drug use made the recording process so long and costly that American Recordings reduced Skinny Puppy's contract from three albums to one. In 1994, Key and Goettel returned to Vancouver with the master tapes; in the face of tensions between band members, however, Ogre remained in Los Angeles and left the band[2] on June 12, 1995.[7] American Recordings decided to drop Skinny Puppy after the release of The Process. The band's keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died of a heroin overdose[2] on August 23, 1995, and the album was dedicated to him.[9][10][11] After Goettel's death, cEvin and Dave finished mixing The Process.[10][11]

It was intended as a concept album about a 1960s psychotherapy cult[2] known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment, to which Ogre was introduced by Genesis P-Orridge. An artist collective calling itself The Process (collective) grew out of the project. [12] "Blue Serge" was one of Key's first experiments with a modular synthesizer.[13]

Composition[edit]

The album was inspired by the music of Suicide, Cabaret Voltaire, Chrome, Throbbing Gristle,[14] Nocturnal Emissions, Portion Control, and The Legendary Pink Dots,[15] accessible to the band primarily via tape exchange.[16] Skinny Puppy experimented with analog and digital recording techniques, composing multi-layered music with synthesizers, drum machines, acoustic percussion, tape loops, samplers, and conventional rock-music instruments to create what they called "audio sculpture."[17][18][19][20] Their extensive use of sampling from horror films and radio broadcasts would "clarify or obscure" song meanings;[21] they applied distortion and other effects to Ogre's vocals,[22] which were often delivered as a stream of consciousness.[23][24] Lyrics referred to social and political topics, including animal rights, environmental degradation,[25] drug addiction,[26] suicide,[27] war,[28] privacy,[29] and self-determination.[30] Skinny Puppy's often informal, improvisational approach to musical composition is indicated by their term "brap," a verb meaning "to get together, hook up electronic instruments, get high, and record."[31] The Process was a stylistic departure from their previous albums, featuring untreated vocals, guitar, and more accessible song structures.[32]

Artwork[edit]

See caption
Color version of the album cover

The cover art, a photograph of a building,[33] is by Steven R. Gilmore.[34] Gilmore created the cover in memory of Goettel and his wife, Colette. He wrote:

The single lit window is a metaphor for the people we have lost and who have gone on to a better place. The remaining darkened rooms represent the people left behind who have to come face to face with grief, survivors guilt and depression.[35]

Although a color version of the photo was considered, Gilmore chose the sepia-tinted version for the album.[36]

Release[edit]

When it was released, The Process was considered the final Skinny Puppy album;[9][37] its liner notes read "The End" after the album credits, which included thank-yous to "Electronic Music Lovers" and "Puppy People".[11] Ogre and Key reformed the band in 2000[38] and released a new album, The Greater Wrong of the Right, in 2004.[39]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2/5 stars[2]
Calgary Herald3/5 stars[40]
CMJMixed[1]
Detroit Free Press2/4 stars[41]
Kerrang!Favorable[42]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[43]
Melody MakerFavorable[44]
NME3/10[45]
San Francisco Examiner3/4 stars[46]
Select1/5[47]

The Process received generally-mixed reviews from critics. AllMusic writer Steve Huey criticized the album for failing to convey its concepts, but concluded: "Still, credit must be given to the band for having finished the record at all, and in its own way, the confusion of The Process speaks volumes".[2] Nicholas Maltezos of The Record gave the album one out of four stars: "Skinny Puppy's sound was certainly original – the group's synthesizer-dominated rock could have easily served as the background music for a dream sequence in a horror or sci-fi movie. But The Process is just a nightmare of a recording".[48] For NME, John Perry wrote that the album was "far from being the industrial, goth knees-up you'd expect" and did little to hold listener interest: "You can't help feeling it would have been better all-round if they hadn't bothered".[45] Ben Mitchell of Select also criticized the album: "An unerring inability to distinguish arse from elbow throughout results in a flimsy 11-track approximation of a gang of mildly irritated moped riders attempting a stage invasion at a Jean-Michel Jarre concert".[47]

James Muretich of the Calgary Herald was impressed by "Candle", and wrote that "the band at least goes out with more of a bark than a whimper".[40] Rommie Johnson of The Tampa Tribune gave the album two stars out of four, writing that the Last Rights track "Download" would have been "the perfect ending" for the band. Although The Process presented nothing new, saying that the album "only sounds weak in light of Puppy's track record" and "the band still make Nine Inch Nails sound like sissies".[49] Steve Byrne of the Detroit Free Press said that "Goettel and Puppy devotees deserve a better epitaph than The Process", and the album was "bogged down in [the] B-horror-movie mode that the band has explored more relevantly before".[41]

Some reviews were more favorable. Sandy Masuo of the Los Angeles Times described the album as "full of intriguing vagaries" and filled with "driving dance grooves, both choppy and smooth", calling "Candle" a "suitably moody swan song".[43] Malcolm X. Abram of The Atlanta Constitution praised the band's experimentation with new sounds and styles, saying that the album "may final[ly] garner this musical institution some attention outside the protective umbrella of industrial fans".[50] Stephen Parrish of The Morning Call agreed, saying that the band "just might enjoy some post-mortem glory with The Process" and praising "Death" and "Candle".[51] Steffan Chirazi of the San Francisco Examiner wrote, "For newcomers, the album is a fascinating and unnerving trip through psychosis. For Skinny Puppy, The Process represents uncomfortable closure and some cohesion".[46] Daniel Lukes of Kerrang! called The Process "the most poignant, elegiac and human album of their career".[42]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Jahya"3:34
2."Death"3:56
3."Candle"4:58
4."Hardset Head"4:06
5."Cult"3:03
6."Process"5:02
7."Curcible"3:28
8."Blue Serge"5:13
9."Morter"4:39
10."Amnesia"4:20
11."Cellar Heat"0:49
Total length:43:08

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[52] 30
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[53] 48
US Billboard 200[54] 102
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[55] 1

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jarman, David (March 1996). "Skinny Puppy 'The Process'". CMJ New Music Monthly (31): 44.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Huey, Steve. "The Process Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Gourley, Bob. "Skinny Puppy frontman Nivek Ogre interviewed about his ohGr side project". chaoscontrol.com. Chaos Control. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Yücel, Ilker. "Skinny Puppy InterView: Shapes for Arms – Pt. 2". regenmag.com. Regen Magazine. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Artists and Music: Getting the Skinny" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 105 no. 43. 23 October 1993. p. 18. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  6. ^ Key, cEvin. "Jahya was the first song recorded for the album. Was the only song I wrote in Mushroom. Recorded w Ken Marshall, starting with a 20 foot long 2" tape loop of live played Piano. Then layed down the big purple puppy acoustic kit drums to compose the song. Guitar was later added at the Process sessions in Malibu by Patrick Sproule additional modular synths were not worked in until a year or so later, so it came in pieces". Facebook. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  7. ^ a b McCaughey, Brian F. (1996). "Skinny Puppy: A Difficult Process". RIP Magazine. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  8. ^ Robbins, Ira (1997). The Trouser Press Guide to 90's Rock. Fireside. p. 657. ISBN 0-684-81437-4.
  9. ^ a b McCaughey, Brian F. (1996). "Skinny Puppy: A Difficult Process". RIP Magazine.
  10. ^ a b c Reed 2013, p. 277
  11. ^ a b c The Process (Media notes). Skinny Puppy. Los Angeles, California: American Recordings. 1996.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ Radford, Chad. "10 Essential Albums from the Outer Reaches of Skinny Puppy's Universe". Creative Loafing. clatl.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  13. ^ Key, cEvin (January 2012). "cEvin Key, Skinny Puppy – Waveshaper TV Ep.1 – IDOW Archive Series". I Dream of Wires (Interview). Waveshaper Media. Event occurs at 7:29. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Skinny Puppy: Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  15. ^ Todd Zachritz. "Brap... The Skinny Puppy and Download Discography". Godsend Online. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  16. ^ Alan Di Perna. "Industrial Revolution: Jackhammer of the Gods". Guitar World, June 1995.
  17. ^ "Infectious bite". See Magazine. 11 June 2005. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2007.
  18. ^ Carey, Jean (9 November 1990). "'Park' Outing is no Picnic". Tampa Bay Times: 17.
  19. ^ Caligari, GreySun. "Interview with cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy (2012)". Circuit Breaker Club. Circuitbreakerclub.org. Archived from the original on 11 August 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  20. ^ Tywoniak, Edward (1991). "Skinny Puppy". Mondo 2000. No. 4. p. 110. Archived from the original on 6 May 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  21. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Skinny Puppy – VIVIsectVI". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 12 May 2018. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  22. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Skinny Puppy: 'Ain't It Dead Yet?' Review". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  23. ^ Nichols, Kathy. "Skinny Puppy bring politicized industrial, over-the-top theatrics to The Rave (Nov 17, 2015)". Milwaukee Record. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  24. ^ Vorst, Chelsey. "Skinny Puppy 'Hands Over' another Great Album (Oct 10, 2011)". Sacramento Press. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  25. ^ Luhrssen, Dave (26 October 1990). "Skinny Puppy make the most Harsh Reality". Milwaukee Journal. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  26. ^ Feinblatt, Scott (24 January 2014). "Skinny Puppy's Rage is Still Potent 30 Years After They Started". OC Weekly. ocweekly.com. Archived from the original on 27 November 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  27. ^ "Dog Day Afternoon". Melody Maker. 21 May 1988. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016.
  28. ^ Shurtluff, Kevin (December 1988). "Bulky and Surrealistic: Skinny Puppy". Alternative Press. Vol. 3 no. 14. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  29. ^ Yücel, Ilker (25 June 2007). "Skinny Puppy – Control Through Mythology". ReGen Magazine. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  30. ^ Kot, Greg (21 May 1992). "Technology Expands Skinny Puppy's Apocalyptic Sound". Chicago Tribune: 8.
  31. ^ Horn et al. (2017): p. 409
  32. ^ Bali, Gunnar (May 1995). "cEvin Key Interview". New Life. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  33. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "After 25 hours of retouching the Skinny Puppy "The Process"". Instagram. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  34. ^ Kern, Jay (2010). Skinny Puppy: The Illustrated Discography (Second Edition). Mythos Press. p. 46.
  35. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "Gilmore cover art Facebook post". Facebook. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  36. ^ Gilmore, Steven R. "Gilmore full-color cover art Facebook post". Facebook. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  37. ^ "Skinny Puppy—The Process". CMJ New Music Monthly. College Media Inc. (March 1996).
  38. ^ "There and Back: Celebrating 15 Years of Artists Who Shaped A.P." Alternative Press. No. 146. September 2000. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  39. ^ Schinder, Scott. "The Greater Wrong of the Right". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  40. ^ a b Muretich, James (March 10, 1996). "Skinny Puppy: The Process (American)". Calgary Herald: C2.
  41. ^ a b Byrne, Steve (April 14, 1996). "Skinny Puppy – The Process". Detroit Free Press: 4H.
  42. ^ a b Lukes, Daniel (March 3, 2007). "Where to Start with Skinny Puppy". Kerrang! (1148): 53. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  43. ^ a b Masuo, Sandy (March 3, 1996). "Skinny Puppy "The Process"". Los Angeles Times: 326. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  44. ^ "Skinny Puppy 'The Process' Review". Melody Maker: 35. February 17, 1996.
  45. ^ a b Perry, John. "Skinny Puppy The Process". NME. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  46. ^ a b Chirazi, Steffan (March 3, 1996). "Pain, Loss and Trauma – Puppies Have It". The San Francisco Examiner: 53.
  47. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (March 1996). "New Albums: Skinny Puppy – The Process". Select (69): 97. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  48. ^ Maltezos, Nicholas (July 19, 1996). "Skinny Puppy, "The Process" (American Recordings; Running Time: 43:13 11 Tracks)". The Record: 11.
  49. ^ Johnson, Rommie (March 29, 1996). "Skinny Puppy – The Process (American)". The Tampa Tribune: 23.
  50. ^ Abram, Malcolm X. (April 4, 1996). "Skinny Puppy "The Process"". The Atlanta Constitution: D8.
  51. ^ Parrish, Stephen (March 9, 1996). "Skinny Puppy: The Process". The Morning Call: A48.
  52. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 2925". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  53. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Skinny Puppy – The Process". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  54. ^ "Skinny Puppy Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2017.
  55. ^ "Skinny Puppy Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]